Those Summer Days
In the dewy sunny mornings of summer, I often think of the idyllic time spent at my grandmother and grandfather’s house. They lived in a small town about 30 miles up the road from where we lived. I called them Mamaw and Papaw. At least I didn’t call them Big Momma, and Big Daddy like some area kids called their grandparents. Still, you know you are a rural southern kid when you call your grandparents Mamaw and Papaw.
In the summertime, my little sister and I would go for a week or two at a time to their house. I would have stayed up there all the time if they’d let me. Mom and Dad both worked, and other than usually a week or two vacation and some weekend adventures, summer wasn’t much different for them than other seasons. We’d get bored and sometimes in trouble with a sitter when we were very young. After I was 11, we stayed at home alone while they worked in the summer, and we’d grow bored and whiney, and I’m sure troublesome.
They wisely let us spend a lot of time with my dad’s parents since my homemaker grandmother thought there was nothing better than having us at her house in the summer. Being a housewife and homemaker, she had time to spend with us.
But, oh, those times at Mamaw and Papaw’s are my most treasured memories of summers as a child. Mamaw told me when she was well into her eighties that those were some of her happiest days, too.
My Papaw was still working in those days, and he came home for lunch every day. Lunch was their big meal of the day, and they called it dinner and called the evening meal supper.
We would play on their big front porch or in the back yard all morning. She even let me take her pots and pans outside, where I made “turnip greens” or “spinach” with grass and leaves in water and “beans” from pea gravel. Sometimes I would have dinner parties for my dolls, but other times I just cooked. I also made chocolate pie from mud, and Mamaw never complained once about the mess. She’d just wash me off with the water hose.
The Bicycle Surprise
One day my Papaw, who was still just in his fifties, came home later than usual for lunch and opened the back of…